Reading Toolkits Institute: Maximizing the Power of the Tools in the Units and Helping Kids Use Them with Independence Grades K-5

Monday, February 18 - Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Grade: K-5
Featuring: Brooke Geller , Valerie Geschwind, Kim F o x, Anna Sheehan, Dani Sturtz, and Marjorie Martinelli

After two years of offering our enormously popular Writing Toolkit Institute, we’ve decided to switch things up this year and instead offer a Reading Toolkit Institute. The Reading Toolkit Institute will focus on creating and developing toolkits to support students’ reading growth. We define reading toolkits broadly to include the charts, mentor jots, micro progressions, practice texts, and other tools that helps make your teaching more concrete, specific, and more responsive to each student’s needs.

You’ll be encouraged to think carefully about your students and the curriculum before you launch into developing tools to help them. What gets in your students’ way? What could make a huge difference? What are the essentials that you resolve to be sure your students grasp? As you reflect on what you students can already do and what they need, we’ll encourage you to think about your readers’ process and growth as well as their raw data. You’ll also hear about the importance of collecting data that lets you know where readers are in terms of both habits and skill-development. We’ll help you develop a deeper understanding of the bands of text complexity. As you learn the key challenges that are present in texts at each of these bands, this can inform the reading tools you’ll want to have on hand.

The participants will help you get to know the kinds of tools already available in the Units of Study and see ways you can adapt these to make them exactly work for your students. You’ll see how, with knowledge of a few types of tools, you can teach lots of small groups, substituting the content to match what specific students need. Across the institute, you’ll have the chance to study student work, create tools in response, and to practice putting those tools into action. You’ll watch demonstrations of how tools can be used in small group work and conferring. All too often the tools become trivia, swamping kids. A big part of the institute will be the effort to help you use the tools well in conferences and small groups. Your goal is not to use tools, but to dramatically ratchet up the level of your students’ work. There will be a huge focus on making sure that every time you offer a scaffold to students, you have a plan in place for helping the student outgrow that scaffold. You’ll also get ideas for how to engage students in designing their own tools and using these to support themselves and their peers. The goal will be self-directed, engaged learning and always, always reading growth.

Expect to see pictures and examples galore that will spur your imagination, and to spend time creating the tools you’ll use in your own school and role-playing how you’ll use them. Above all, expect to leave this institute feeling inspired with a renewed energy that will fuel your teaching!


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY